Philadelphia rapper/producer Lushlife may not be the most well-known artist on the planet, but to those paying attention, he’s already made an impact with his first two self-produced projects, 2009’s Cassette City and Plateau Vision in 2012. This Friday (Feb. 19), he returns with his new full-length album Ritualize on Western Vinyl, which Billboard is exclusively premiering today.
On this new effort, Lushlife hands the production reigns to Philly beat-making trio CSLSX and invites Killer Mike, Ariel Pink, RJD2, Deniro Farrar, Marissa Nadler and former Roc-A-Fella MC (and fellow Philly native) Freeway to contribute as featured guests, among others. “I felt like audiences already had a sense of the Lushlife sound when left to my own devices,” he tells Billboard in an email about stepping back from producing. “With Ritualize, I really wanted to expand that and also challenge myself by bringing in an outside production team to help evolve and take things in a different direction.”
The result is a renewed focus on introspective lyricism and a broader, cinematic scope that is the result of three years of painstaking work, a time he refers to as being in the trenches. “The great thing about having a production team holding shit down on Ritualize is that it let me really focus on the lyrical content across the album,” he says. “This time around, I really had the bandwidth to delve into personal issues and exorcize demons in my own way.”
Check out the album above and pick up a copy Friday. A performance in Philadelphia with CSLSX on Feb. 27 and a date at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn on Apr. 13 are on the schedule ahead of Lushlife’s upcoming tour with Islands (dates below), just announced this week.
05/17 Ottawa, ON @ Ritual
05/18 Quebec City, QC @ Le Cerde
05/19 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le “Ritz” P.D.B
05/20 Allston, MA @ Great Scott
05/22 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/24 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
05/25 Columbus, OH @ Skully’s Music Diner
05/26 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
05/27 Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch
05/28 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern